In celebration of Immigrant Heritage Month, I want to recognize all of the Haitian parents for the sacrifices they have made to give their children opportunities they themselves did not have. From the tiring, endless jobs to the fight to gain respect from their peers and co-workers. The grind to push us towards our own excellence and success.
When all this work has been done on their end, I know as the next generation it leaves me with the grueling question: What is left for me to possibly do?
It can sometimes feel like after the hardships our parents endured there isn’t enough that we could do as a proper repayment.
The best answer to this was best said by a young Haitian DJ based in New York named Michael Brun (@michealbrun): “This generation of Haitians want to see our country thrive. We want Haiti to be known for their excellence.”
The best form of repayment that I feel any first-generation Haitian can do is to recognize and celebrate the greatness of their culture and country. You represent that greatness by waving your flags, showcasing your food, speaking your language, and being the best authentic version of yourself that you can be. As long as you push and better yourself, you are doing your parents justice whether it be through education, artistry, leadership, etc.
When I was younger my parents explained to me that a banner on the Haitian flag says “L’union fait la force” which literally translates into “unity makes strength.” We are stronger because we are working together.
I believe that as a younger generation this strength comes from a collective work to thrive and have our country shine in the light we bring. I leave this for Haitian first-gens and honestly anybody that identifies as a first-generation child to reflect on this month and be proud of who you are. Especially since this is an experience that stretches beyond 30 days.
As this month comes to a close, here are some feel-good songs to fuel your love and passion for Haiti:
- I Don’t Care- Sweet Mickey
- Tu me touches- Roberto Martino
- Deception- Nickenson Prud’homme
- Bon anniversaire- Richie
- Yo remele- Gracia & Richie
- Konsey- J Perry ft. TonyMix
- Ya Sezi- RAM
- Juicy Lucy- Tabou Combo
- Ti Joceline- Tropicana d’ Haiti
- Biznis Pam- Djakout Mizik
- Fidel- Zenglen
- Gislene- Tabou Combo
- Adrienne- Tropicana d’ Haiti
- Bayo- Michael Brun (ft. Strong G, Baky, J Perry)
- A.k.i.ko- Emeline Michel
Raniah Jeanlys is a proud Haitian-American woman that was born in Pétion-Ville, Haiti and then grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. She recently graduated from North Carolina State University majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and a minor in Law and Justice. She enjoys being an active student and participating in activities outside of school like dancing and volunteering at animal shelters.